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Burkholderia adaptation to different niches: the role of wcb cluster in virulence and environmental survival strategies

Grant number: 19/12458-8
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): September 26, 2019
Effective date (End): September 25, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal researcher:Welington Luiz de Araújo
Grantee:Welington Luiz de Araújo
Host: Leo Eberl
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Zurich (UZH), Switzerland  


The genus Burkholderia present species associated to phytopathogenicity, plant growth promotion, biological control and production biological active compounds. However, some environmental strains have been isolated from immunocompromised patients, presenting pro-inflammatory activity or causing pneumonia. In this context, the wcb cluster, presents approximately 24 genes involved in the synthesis and transport of capsule (exopolysaccharides), and has been associated to virulence of the bacteria in patients and adaptation in the environment. Recent studies with the endophytic bacterium B. seminalis TC3.4.2R3 demonstrated that the cluster wcb is also associated to synthesis of antifungal compounds, biological control of orchid necrosis and virulence to Galleria mellonella. In addition, based on RNAseq, we observed that the temperature shift is an important factor that is associate to expression of genes in wcb cluster, capsule formation (induced at 37oC) and antifungal synthesis (repressed at 37oC). Thus, with the objective to understand the role of the wcb cluster in the adaptation of Burkholderia spp. to different environment the expression of wcb cluster genes from the endophytic bacterium B. seminalis TC3.4.2R3 and pathogenic bacterium B. cenocepacia J2315 will be evaluated in environments and the genes wcbE and wcbR, that encode a glucosyltransferase and a polyketide synthase, respectively, will be knocked out and the behavior of the mutants in the host plant and in macrophages will be evaluated. This proposal will highlight the role of wcb cluster in the adaptation of Burkholderia spp. in different environments.

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